Brody Powell loves being part of a team
At his job at Baker Sanitary Service, Brody likes being included in company events, especially holiday parties. He enjoys reenacting scenes from movies for his coworkers. “Every day after work, I get my root beer and I act out scenes for them to see if they can guess,” Brody said.
Brody, 21, works three days per week at Baker Sanitary Service
. He has worked at the company for two years. Janie R
adinovich-Brose, Youth Transition Program (YTP)
Specialist, developed the job for Brody while he was attending Baker High School’s transition program.
“We went to 10 different work sites, and we were struggling to find something that was the right fit for Brody,” Janie said. “When we went to Baker Sanitary, Brody thought this was someplace he could work.”
Teresa Freese, Assistant General Manager and Human Resources for Baker Sanitary Service, said the company had never hired someone with an intellectual or developmental disability before.
“All the information that was shared, it just sounded like a win-win,” she said. “We needed someone who was willing to work hard, and we knew Brody would have supports.”
Brody’s job coach is Jack Woodruff with Step Forward Activities, Inc. Jack and Brody have developed a close bond, as the two learn the best way to work together.
“Brody is a lot sm
arter than me, so I had to learn from him and about him to support him,” Jack said. “I had to learn about movies so we could carry on a conversation.”
Brody has autism and does best when he knows the goal in front of him. His job involves cleaning the areas outside the landfill at Baker Sanitary Service, and keeping the recycling area clean. Brody does not do well with change.
“He has to know exactly what we are doing beforehand, so I have to tell him, ‘Brody, we are going to fill 10 bags today,’ or whatever the amount may be,” Jack said. “He likes everything carefully explained. Once he has that, he is good to go.”
His mother, Amy Powell, said Brody’s confidence and skills have grown considerably since he started working. At first, he didn’t want to have a job.
“School is a safety net,” Amy said. “I asked him, ‘Go back to school, or get a job? We don’t get to sit at home and do nothing.’” Amy added: “Now, he does better than anyone else in the house and getting ready for work on time. And he is texting now, which he never used to do.”
Janie said the job is a good fit for Brody because of the family atmosphere and also his attention to detail.
“He likes everything where it belongs, nothing out of place,” Janie said.
Brody doesn’t say much throughout the interview but eventually chimes in.
“I’m proud of this work,” he said.
Teresa Freese said they are happy Brody is part of their team.
“We treat Brody like any other employee and he enjoys all the same perks as any other employee,” she said. “And now, all the guys that work in the shop let us know if we are getting low on root beer for Brody.”
Brody’s mother said she is excited to see her son, once reluctant to try employment, now thriving in a community job.
“He has turned out to be a good worker,” she said. “It’s great, because we have something to visit about at the dinner table now. We both talk about our day at work.”
Brody’s employment team includes: Janie Radinovich-Brose, YTP Specialist and job developer; Jack Woodruff, job coach with Step Forward Activities Inc.; VR Counselor Wendy Wall; Service Coordinator Helle Wentz; and Amy Powell, Brody’s mother.